Occipital Nerve Block
The greater occipital nerve is responsible for most of the feeling in the back and top of the head. Irritation or inflammation of this nerve can cause headaches. People with occipital nerve irritation often report pain starting from the base of their skull on one side of their head. The pain may extend as far as the temple, forehead, and behind the eyes.
An occipital nerve block is one of the most common procedures to provide pain relief for migraines and chronic headaches.
Occipital nerve blocks reduce swelling around the occipital nerves and chronic pain associated with tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches (whiplash syndrome), and occipital neuralgia. In an occipital nerve block, a local anesthetic and steroid medication is typically injected into the greater and lesser occipital nerves located at the base of the skull at the back of the head. Patients may experience significant pain relief immediately after the injection which may be short-lived or long-lasting.
If you respond well to the occipital nerve block procedure but pain returns, the block may be repeated as a management option for a chronic condition. Although uncommon, risks from the occipital nerve block procedure may include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and allergic reaction to the medication.
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